Thursday Morning Open Thread: PEOTUS Trump, Fraud-in-Chief

Looks like the Washington Post may have decided the nation needs a Paper of Opposition, since the NYTimes is determined to control the Kneepads Brigade. Phillip Bump, “Trump will be the first modern president to get less than half of the vote in both the primary and general”:

Trump always likes to say that he received more votes than any previous Republican nominee, which is accurate, but it’s also accurate that a record was set for most votes cast for candidates other than the eventual nominee.

Using data from U.S. Election Atlas and the Congressional Quarterly Guide to Elections, we can plot contests since 1972 (after the reforms that followed the 1968 process) and demonstrate that only five times have major-party nominees earned less than 50 percent of the vote in both the primary and the general — and only once, this year, has that person ended up winning the presidency…

Update: Since someone on Twitter asked, the other four people to get under 50 percent in each contest were John McCain (2008), Michael Dukakis (1988), Walter Mondale (1984) and George McGovern (1972).

Interestingly, both of the last two losing candidates got more of the vote in the general election than did Trump. Trump earned about 46.3 percent of the vote (though ballots are still being counted) to Mitt Romney’s 47.2. (Romney also did better than Trump in nearly half the states.) Hillary Clinton, of course, beat Trump in the popular vote this year, which is where this whole thing started…

More Republicans voted for someone besides Trump than voted for him in the primary, but he won. More Americans voted for Trump’s opponent in the general, but he won.

Had we been saying this about Clinton, I think it’s safe to guess the word Trump would have used to describe her victory: Rigged.

Trump, as is his wont, found the right loopholes to stake his claim to a chunk of an aging, damaged institution (the GOP, in this case) — which he will now, predictably, loot and discard.

But let’s keep reminding him that his “landslide” is really just a Mondale/McGovern/Dukakis/McCain – level #FAIL, artificially inflated into the semblance of a victory by years of Republican vote-suppression, gerrymandering, foreign interference, and warring factions within the national security state. He has no mandate, and neither do the professional GOP asset-strippers like Paul Ryan, who are planning to use Trump as their catspaw.

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Apart from congratulating the pollsters for their accuracy (FWIW), what’s on the agenda for the day?








Open Thread: Will Mitt Be Donald’s New Best Friend?

Pathetic. At least there’s a crumb of glee knowing that PEOTUS Gimme-My-KFC probably didn’t enjoy his frog-legs-and-sirloin plutocratic parody dinner. From the Washington Post:

Stephen Pagliuca, who worked with Romney at Bain Capital and has socialized with Trump, urged advisers to the president-elect to press Trump to name Romney for the State Department job…

Pagliuca, a co-owner of the Boston Celtics and a Democrat, said he knew something that others didn’t. When he golfed with Trump at a Boston-area course some years ago, Trump had talked at length about how much he admired Bain Capital, a private equity firm that Romney led until 1999.

Today, as Pagliuca and other Romney backers see it, Trump, 70, and the 69-year-old Romney had far more in common than many realize: Both came to prominence as risk takers and dealmakers, and both have spent much of their lives seeking to emulate and outdo the success of their fathers. Trump’s father, Fred, was a New York City developer, and Romney’s father, George, was a governor of Michigan who unsuccessfully sought the presidency…

One of these things is not quite like the other, though it’s true that Romney has always fretted about not coming up to his sire’s standards. Also, much as it irks me to give him any credit, Romney is an actual billionaire and has prior governing experience — as if that last would mean anything to Accident-Elect Smallgloves. I can certainly see him hungering to demonstrate for the world that he’s more alpha than the Mormon on the White Horse…

And, of course, Romney is willing to debase himself in hopes of becoming the GOP John Kerry. Which may or may not work out for him:

At least Romney, while spineless and untrustworthy as an ally, is neither full-bore crazy (Bolton) nor corrupt to the bone (Giuliani). Cold comfort, eh?








Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Rot All the Way Down

Professor Krugman, in the NYTimes, “Why Corruption Matters“:

…[W]e could be talking about a lot of money — think billions, not millions, to Mr. Trump alone (which is why his promise not to take his salary is a sick joke). But America is a very rich country, whose government spends more than $4 trillion a year, so even large-scale looting amounts to rounding error. What’s important is not the money that sticks to the fingers of the inner circle, but what they do to get that money, and the bad policy that results…

… I’ve already written about the Trump infrastructure plan, which for no obvious reason involves widespread privatization of public assets. No obvious reason, that is, except the huge opportunities for cronyism and profiteering that would be opened up.

But what’s truly scary is the potential impact of corruption on foreign policy. Again, foreign governments are already trying to buy influence by adding to Mr. Trump’s personal wealth, and he is welcoming their efforts…

Destruction of democratic norms aside, however, think about the tilt this de facto bribery will give to U.S. policy. What kind of regime can buy influence by enriching the president and his friends? The answer is, only a government that doesn’t adhere to the rule of law.

Think about it: Could Britain or Canada curry favor with the incoming administration by waiving regulations to promote Trump golf courses or directing business to Trump hotels? No — those nations have free presses, independent courts, and rules designed to prevent exactly that kind of improper behavior. On the other hand, someplace like Vladimir Putin’s Russia can easily funnel vast sums to the man at the top in return for, say, the withdrawal of security guarantees for the Baltic States…

As Charlie Pierce reminds us, last time the spoils-seeking got this blatant, then-President Harding was hustled off on a strenuous nationwide publicity tour from which he did not return. I can imagine Mike Pence looking in the mirror and imagining himself the next Calvin Coolidge… if only because the fewer words he can say, the less of an idiot he will look.
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Open Thread: There Is No Core, Only Emptiness

Usually when people say a politician is crazy, it just means they don’t agree with his/her policies. Donald Trump, on the other hand, is outside all the ‘usual’ norms. While I don’t want to (further) stigmatize those with genuine mental health issues, our best strategies for surviving the next four years may be to use the metaphor of personality disorder as a framework to deal with Trump. Which is why, I think, N. Ziehl’s Medium post is being passed around right now. “Coping with Chaos in the White House“:

I want to talk a little about narcissistic personality disorder. I’ve unfortunately had a great deal of experience with it, and I’m feeling badly for those of you who are trying to grapple with it for the first time because of our president-elect, who almost certainly suffers from it or a similar disorder. If I am correct, it has some very particular implications for the office. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1) It’s not curable and it’s barely treatable. He is who he is. There is no getting better, or learning, or adapting. He’s not going to “rise to the occasion” for more than maybe a couple hours. So just put that out of your mind…

6) It’s very, very confusing for non-disordered people to experience a disordered person with NPD. While often intelligent, charismatic and charming, they do not reliably observe social conventions or demonstrate basic human empathy. It’s very common for non-disordered people to lower their own expectations and try to normalize the behavior. DO NOT DO THIS AND DO NOT ALLOW OTHERS, ESPECIALLY THE MEDIA, TO DO THIS. If you start to feel foggy or unclear about this, step away until you recalibrate…
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Lou Knew

Contemplating the pain Trump’s going to lay on the most vulnerable among us (and yeah, some of them voted for him, but hurt is hurt), I found this song, imagined as being addressed directly to the Shitgibbon, a perfect expression of my mood:

(Buried deep in the lyrics Reed talks of the Trumps being ordained.  But the real tell is when he sings “They say the President’s dead/But no one can find his head.” That last line is truer than he ever knew.  Man was a prophet.)

Open thread.